INDIA: As talks about demanding women’s IPL (Indian Premier League) are getting louder & louder, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly has hinted at the possibility of starting it in 2023.
On Friday, Mr. Ganguly stated in his statement to PTI, “We are at the level of formulation to have a full-fledged WIPL. It is certainly going to happen. I strongly believe that next year, i.e., 2023, will be a very good time to start a full-fledged women’s IPL, which will be as big & grand success as men’s IPL.”
In 2018, BCCI started the Women’s T20 Challenge, with only one exhibition match during men’s IPL playoffs. Later in 2019 & 2020, BCCI expanded the tournament to a three-team event, which claimed colossal success.
In 2021, the tournament got canceled, even though men’s IPL took place with a complete bio-bubble arrangement for all eight teams & involved authorities. This year, despite witnessing successfully growing women’s tournaments like chartbuster WBBL (Women’s Big Bash League) & inaugural hit The women’s Hundred, BCCI has decided to go ahead with only three teams.
Besides, BCCI hosted Women’s T20 Challenge 2020 in UAE, during men’s IPL playoffs, with WBBL going on in Australia. Due to this schedule, many international players expressed disappointment as they couldn’t participate in the three-team tournament.
India finished runners-up to England in the 2017 ICC ODI World Cup, which was a breakthrough for the Indian women’s cricket team. The team’s performance then gained huge praise & inspired many.
At the ICC T20 World Cup in 2020, India again had to solace by being second-best to Australia, which still earned more attention to the women’s game in the country.
During all these years, BCCI has frequently complained that Indian Cricket doesn’t hold the kind of depth in its domestic circuit that is required for the tournament to be worthwhile.
Mr. Ganguly himself had suggested that a seven-team women’s IPL could well come to fruition in 2023. He also had quoted, “You need a lot more women players. I see that in four years’ time, to get a seven-team IPL with the best women players.”
In contrast, at least 1100 registered women players in India in almost every domestic season. Nearly 40 players have played for India or are on the fringes of selection since the 2018-19 season. Players from other cricketing nations will inflate these numbers way more.
Women’s IPL receive a positive response from ex-cricketers and team owners
Many people with knowledge of the issue, including former & active cricketers and franchise owners, have expressed their opinions about women’s IPL.
Talking about WIPL, the CEO of the men’s IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders, Venky Mysore, stated, “Sometimes, you just have to take an idea and run with it. I have personally, on several occasions, mooted this idea with the BCCI. It’s high time we do this because – leave aside all other aspects, like business, viability, the commercial side of it – really, with just the kind of talent & following, it (WIPL) needs to be wholeheartedly supported.”
In his tweet, mentioning Mr. Sourav Ganguly, former England cricketer Michael Vaughan stated, “A Women’s IPL should be top priority now!! Let’s get it sorted..”
India’s ODI & test captain Mithali Raj said, “Now is the right time to get in IPL because T20 is also a format that ICC is looking to promote in women’s cricket.”
Australian skipper Meg Lanning recently quoted, “I would certainly love to be involved in something like that. The next big step for women’s cricket is if an IPL could get up – it’s certainly an exciting prospect.”